A survey demonstrating the positive relationships between tenant farmers and landlords, and the conduct of agents within that process, has been welcomed by Scottish Land & Estates.
Published by the Scottish Land Commission’s Tenant Farming Commissioner, research seeking the views and experiences of landlords and tenants regarding their business interactions with agents found that:
Ratings given by tenant farmers and landlords to agents with respect to politeness, professionalism, respect, trustworthiness, openness and honesty and treating them fairly ranged between 98% to 100% being positive.
Ratings given by tenant farmers for the agents employed by landlords ranged between 67% and 83% rated as ‘good’.
Only 17% of tenant farmers and 17% of landlords were very or fairly dissatisfied with their interactions with agents.
82% of tenant farmers described their relationship with their landlord as either very good or fairly good and 88% of landlords described their relationship as either very good or good. These percentages are very similar to the Scottish Government’s Renting-out Agricultural Land in Scotland Survey published in 2014.
Sarah-Jane Laing, executive director of Scottish Land & Estates, said: ‘The results of the survey are pleasing news for the tenanted farming sector and demonstrate that the vast majority of relationships between tenants and landlords are positive and productive for both parties.
‘The role of agents within negotiations has often been the cause of heated discussion within the industry but the survey demonstrates that the vast majority of agents are conducting their work with politeness, professionalism and integrity. This is good news for a sector which relies heavily on the valuable role and expertise of agents in an ever-changing regulatory landscape.
‘The new findings correspond with the Scottish Government’s research released by Ipsos MORI in 2014 and whilst it is often portrayed that landlords and tenants are at loggerheads, in actual fact most people within the sector are getting along well. With this being the case, there is a lot of positive relationships we can build on in the future and provide confidence to resolve the minority of cases where relationships can be improved and strengthened.
‘The Tenant Farming Commissioner is now beginning the process of consulting stakeholders on the findings and SLE and its members are committed to finding ways in which we can enhance relationships even further.’
The Scottish Land Commission’s tenant farming commissioner, Bob McIntosh, consulted with key stakeholders on the findings from the review of the conduct of agents of landlords and tenants.
Stakeholders were asked to comment on the findings of the research following the collection of evidence on the views and experiences of landlords and tenants regarding their business interactions with agents.
A total of 914 tenant farmers having a total of 1278 tenancies and 121 landlords holding 1705 tenancies were interviewed by telephone.
A wide range of responses were received from throughout Scotland, with the majority reporting a positive experience regarding their interactions with agents.
Some 17% of tenant farmers and 17% of landlords surveyed were dissatisfied with the agent they had dealt with and a sample of these were re-interviewed to dig deeper into the reasons for dissatisfaction.
Bob McIntosh said: ‘The evidence collected by the review, on the whole shows a positive response by tenants and landlords on their views and experiences regarding business interactions they have had with agents. Digging deeper into the 17% of tenant farmers and landlords who expressed dissatisfaction has enabled us to get a clearer understanding of the reasons behind the responses.
‘It is important that key stakeholders can comment on the findings of the research and be given the opportunity to make submissions to inform the review before the final report is submitted to Ministers.
‘Agents play an important role in facilitating the relationship between landlord and tenant. A good agent can deliver for the client while maintaining sound professional standards and avoiding souring the landlord/tenant relationship. It is the responsibility of everyone involved to work together to ensure that this approach is the norm.’